BOOT CAMP 102
CREATING A CALENDAR
At this time if year I used to be able to rely on a steady
supply of glossy and expensive-looking calendars to pass on to friends and
relatives as cheapskate supplementary Christmas presents. Lately however the
stream has slowed to a trickle as corporate promotional budgets have been cut
back and/or I have been weeded off mailing lists. This has prompted complaints
from some members of the family for whom the calendar had become a welcome
annual gift. This year everyone gets a calendar – whether they want one or not…
Cheesy shop brought and freebie calendars are all very well
but it's far more satisfying to make your own. It's more personal too, the
design and choice of imagery is up to you, from photographs of the family or
seasonal holiday snaps to a commercial message, for clients and customers.
Don't forget a calendar is not just for Christmas, they're a year-long reminder
of you or your business.
It's easy all you need is a PC and a printer -- preferably a
colour model – and some fairly basic software, some of which you already have
if you are using Windows 95 or 98. A lot of printers, scanners and digital
cameras come with bundled graphics software that includes calendar templates. If
not there are plenty of low-cost programs on the market, some selling for less
than £10. There are shareware applications that can be downloaded from the Internet
(type 'calendar print' into the search field at http://shareware.cnet.com/ for a good
selection). They are also included on PC magazine cover mount CD-ROMs and you
can create a smart-looking calendar using only Windows utilities, we'll come to
that in a moment.
Commercial titles with calendar printing facilities include
PrintShop, Carlton Cards, LivePix, MGI PhotoSuite, to name just a few. Some
word processors also have built-in calendar templates. Sadly MS Word is not one
of them but there is a quite a good example in Lotus Word Pro, which is part of
the software suite supplied with a lot of new PCs. The scope of these programs
varies. The most basic ones simply provide you with fixed graphics without any
reference to the year, in which case there will be no day-date relationship on
the calendar portion. In other words it just shows the month and list or table
of numbers representing the days. More advanced programs produce a proper
day-date calendar specific to the month and year.
There is a huge range of designs and layouts to choose from
but the general advice is to keep it simple, especially if you are planning to
produce more than a couple of copies. A lot of colour graphics or images could
work out expensive on some printers. An easy way to add a splash of colour is
to use tinted or coloured paper; most stationary suppliers carry a wide range
of snazzy designer inkjet and laser paper, some of which costs only marginally
more than plain white copier stock.
That no-cost Windows calendar mentioned earlier can be made using
WordPad and Paint. The first step is to gather together the images you want to
use in one folder they should be in Bitmap (*.bmp) format if you're using
Windows 95 or bitmap and JPEG (*.jpg) for Windows 98. Launch WordPad (Start
> Programs > Accessories), open a new document and type in the month and
year in a big bold face, highlight and centre the text and hit return to put
the cursor on a new line. Go to the Insert menu, select Object check the item 'Create
From File' and use the Browse button to navigate to your image folder. Click on
the first image to import it into the document and use the sizing handles to
position it on the page. Hit return again to create a new line and open the
Windows Paint program (Start > Programs > Accessories).
With an empty page showing double click on the time display
in the System Tray on the Toolbar to bring up the Date/Time window. Change the
month and year to January 2000. If you like change the day highlight (it normally
shows today's date) to indicate a special day in the month. Now press Alt +
PrintScreen to send a screen grab of the calendar to the Windows Clipboard.
Open Paint and click on Paste on the Edit menu or press Ctrl + V to insert the
image into the open window. Use the Select tool to highlight the day-date
section of the image and press Ctrl + C to copy it to the Clipboard. Now switch
back to your open WordPad document and press Ctrl + V to paste the Paint image.
Use the sizing handles to position and stretch the image to page width, add
further embellishments as required and save the document. Repeat the above
steps for each month of the year, and when you are finished don’t forget to
reset the Windows calendar. Now you can print and collate the sheets.
There are various ways of binding calendar sheets, the simplest
being to staple them together, a strip of coloured sticky tape or thin card glued
to the top edge will make it look a lot neater; use a hole punch so it can be hung
easily. Alternatively, stick the top edge of the pages together with adhesive
or double-sided sticky tape, or use a spring/wire binder, if you have access to
Next week – Windows shutdown problems
A snapshot of the PCs video display, copied to the Windows Clipboard
as a bitmap file. Pressing PrintScreen captures the whole screen, Alt +
PrintScreen grabs just the active window
Small boxes on the corners and edges of a graphic that alters
the size and shape of the object when moved with the mouse pointer
A word processor or graphics program page containing
embedded instructions concerning design layout and style features that can be easily
modified or customised
Control Panel is one of the most useful and at the same
time, one of the most dangerous utilities in Windows. If your PC is going to be
used by young and inquisitive members of the family it's a good idea to
restrict access to it. If you have Windows 98 it's easy, and a good excuse – if
you haven't already done so – to install Tweak UI. Load your CD-ROM
installation disc and use the 'Browse This CD' option (if it starts
automatically) or Windows Explorer (if it doesn't) to navigate to D: > Tools
> Reskit > Powertoy. Right-click on the tweakui.inf file icon, choose
Install and follow the instructions. The Tweak UI icon should now appear in
Control Panel. Choose the Control Panel tab, deselect all of the items shown
and they will be hidden from view. If you deselect Tweak UI that will disappear
too, which could make life difficult if you want to access Control Panel, so
before you begin create a desktop shortcut to it (by right-clicking on the icon).
Hide it away by dragging and dropping
the shortcut icon onto the Start button then onto Programs and into a folder.
Don't forget to delete the original desktop shortcut.